The Not-so-Perpetual Beta

One of the tenets of Web 2.0, according to Tim O’Reilly’s seminal article, is “the perpetual beta.” That is, “the product is developed in the open, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.” Well, Web 2.0-ish applications seem to be shedding beta-ness fast and furious lately: first Gmail, now Remember The Milk. I know, I know: two datapoints does not a trend make. Also,.. Read More

Librarianship First Principles

The more I prep for my Library 2.0 course, the more I find myself thinking about what Library 2.0 really is all about. And the more I think about what Library 2.0 means, the more I return to what I think of as the First Principles of librarianship. I don’t mean Ranganathan’s Five Laws, though certainly those are true enough, and useful as a way of framing the philosophical underpinning.. Read More

Membership has its privileges

I’ve been doing some weird things to prepare for teaching the Library 2.0 course in the Spring: I recently finished reading Teaching As a Subversive Activity, I’ve become a disciple of Howard Rheingold’s pedagogical stylings, I upgraded our free LibraryThing account to Lifetime membership. I’ve also finally caved in to my CueCat lust: I asked Y to get me one as a stocking-stuffer for the holidays. (I mean, it’s only.. Read More


I want to start this by saying that this was completely Kathleen Kern‘s idea. We were talking over dinner at LIDA last week, and she asked me, essentially, “Why isn’t there an equivalent of WorldCat for digital libraries?” I gave some lame answer: no standardization across DLs, complexity of dealing with item- and collection-level description simultaneously, cost, I don’t even remember what all I said. (In my defense, we were.. Read More

EB Widgets

‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’ Is Now Free to Bloggers, from the Chronicle Wired Campus The Great EB has gone Web 2.0: first, they have a new blog. And second, they’ve developed a widget that enables access to a topically-defined set of resources from the EB. Unfortunately the widgets are by registration only, but it’s a start. I’ve registered for a widget, though I’m not sure I deserve one, as I’m hardly the.. Read More

My very own wiki

Once again, I come late to the party, but once there I join in with abandon… I now have my own wiki! I’ve installed MediaWiki in my ibiblio space. I’ve been meaning to install MediaWiki for a while now, but I had no real reason to do it other than just wanting it, so I never bothered. But Paul and I have recently been discussing proposing a course on Library.. Read More

Thoughts on meeting Abby Blachly and reading The Long Tail

I was on a panel earlier today at the LAUNC-CH Conference, which I think went well, though I killed the conversation at one point, never a good sign. Anyway, Abby Blachly of LibraryThing was the keynote speaker, and I had the good fortune to have some conversations with her during the conference, plus have lunch together. I’ve written here about LibraryThing before, and I fear that I came across as.. Read More

Niches and filters

I’m reading The Long Tail (the book, not the article), and something struck me. On p. 119, Anderson writes: As the Tail gets longer, the signal-to-noise ratio gets worse. Thus, the only way a consumer can maintain a consistently good enough signal to find what he or she wants is if the filters get increasingly powerful. I wonder if this is actually true. It seems to me that a significant.. Read More

Distributed Science

After all that foofarah about purging my backlog of posts, here’s an actual new one. Ever since living in Syracuse, Yvonne and I have participated in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great Backyard Bird Count, which took place the weekend before last. I was thinking about the GBBC the other day, and realized that it, and Project FeederWatch, are examples of distributed data collection. Now all of you regular PomeRantz.. Read More

Communities on Delicious?

I recently ran into Aggie Donkar, a former student of mine, now graduated. We got to talking about her Masters paper, which sounded interesting and which I subsequently read. As an aside, I’d just like to say that a very large percentage of our Masters papers sound incredibly interesting, and I only wish I had the time to read them all! Anyway, Aggie’s Masters paper was indeed very interesting, though.. Read More